How to format your references using the Synthetic and Systems Biotechnology citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Synthetic and Systems Biotechnology. For a complete guide how to prepare your manuscript refer to the journal's instructions to authors.

Using reference management software

Typically you don't format your citations and bibliography by hand. The easiest way is to use a reference manager:

PaperpileThe citation style is built in and you can choose it in Settings > Citation Style or Paperpile > Citation Style in Google Docs.
EndNoteFind the style here: output styles overview
Mendeley, Zotero, Papers, and othersThe style is either built in or you can download a CSL file that is supported by most references management programs.
BibTeXBibTeX syles are usually part of a LaTeX template. Check the instructions to authors if the publisher offers a LaTeX template for this journal.

Journal articles

Those examples are references to articles in scholarly journals and how they are supposed to appear in your bibliography.

Not all journals organize their published articles in volumes and issues, so these fields are optional. Some electronic journals do not provide a page range, but instead list an article identifier. In a case like this it's safe to use the article identifier instead of the page range.

A journal article with 1 author
Burnett K. Laser-matter interactions. It takes two electrons to tango. Nature 2000;405:631, 633.
A journal article with 2 authors
Jamison DT, Sandbu ME. Global health. WHO ranking of health system performance. Science 2001;293:1595–6.
A journal article with 3 authors
Holland RA, Wikelski M, Wilcove DS. How and why do insects migrate? Science 2006;313:794–6.
A journal article with 7 or more authors
Sandler N, Kassamakov I, Ehlers H, Genina N, Ylitalo T, Haeggstrom E. Rapid interferometric imaging of printed drug laden multilayer structures. Sci Rep 2014;4:4020.

Books and book chapters

Here are examples of references for authored and edited books as well as book chapters.

An authored book
Hamdan M, Righetti PG. Proteomics Today. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2005.
An edited book
Alladi K, Bhargava M, Savitt D, Tiep PH, editors. Quadratic and Higher Degree Forms. vol. 31. New York, NY: Springer; 2013.
A chapter in an edited book
Jha KR, Singh G. Ring Resonator-Integrated Hemi-elliptical Lens Antenna. In: Singh G, editor. Terahertz Planar Antennas for Next Generation Communication, Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2014, p. 83–105.

Web sites

Sometimes references to web sites should appear directly in the text rather than in the bibliography. Refer to the Instructions to authors for Synthetic and Systems Biotechnology.

Blog post
Fang J. Pig Heart Transplants For Humans Could Be On Their Way. IFLScience 2014. (accessed October 30, 2018).


This example shows the general structure used for government reports, technical reports, and scientific reports. If you can't locate the report number then it might be better to cite the report as a book. For reports it is usually not individual people that are credited as authors, but a governmental department or agency like "U. S. Food and Drug Administration" or "National Cancer Institute".

Government report
Government Accountability Office. Actions Underway To Reduce Delinquencies in the Health Professions and Nursing Student Loan Programs. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 1982.

Theses and dissertations

Theses including Ph.D. dissertations, Master's theses or Bachelor theses follow the basic format outlined below.

Doctoral dissertation
Salifu A. Names that prick: Royal praise names in Dagbon, northern Ghana. Doctoral dissertation. Indiana University, 2008.

News paper articles

Unlike scholarly journals, news papers do not usually have a volume and issue number. Instead, the full date and page number is required for a correct reference.

New York Times article
Poniewozik J. Crossing to Grief’s Other Side. New York Times 2017:C7.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in square brackets:

This sentence cites one reference [1].
This sentence cites two references [1,2].
This sentence cites four references [1–4].

About the journal

Full journal titleSynthetic and Systems Biotechnology
AbbreviationSynth. Syst. Biotechnol.
ISSN (print)2405-805X

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